“I’ve had three successful marriages” paraphrase of statement by Margaret Mead
Author Connie Ahrons quotes the noted anthropologist Margaret Mead, who was married and divorced three times; a reporter asked about her ‘failed’ marriages, to which she replied,” I didn’t have any failed marriages. I’ve been married three times and each marriage was successful.” She went on to explain that she had gone through several very distinct life stages and had at each time chosen a different mate, one who could meet her needs and priorities of that time.
I’d guess, then, I’d roll with Margaret. I’ve said, “I do, I do, and I do” on three separate occasions. It’s not a fact I’m proud of, but neither am I ashamed. As Margaret said, each happened at a different time in my life and I learned from each relationship. I also grew up, and am able now to look back on the two that “failed” and know that they seemed right, at that time in my life. I’m now happily in my third and LAST marriage.
As a social worker and philanthropist for the past 30 years, I’ve learned the most by not only watching those who do it best, but by my own errors along the way. So, I want to share a bit of what I’ve learned the hard way.
First, I’ll introduce you to the cast of characters…
First, none of these characters are bad people. We all had lessons to learn from each other. And my husband Eric isn’t perfect, and that’s not why our marriage works. I think it works because we’ve each had a lifetime of experience and multiple relationships and that made us much smarter in our marriage today. So, here goes…
1) You don’t always have to be right.
2) Your partner is not your parent, and not your child.
3) Say something nice to each other every day.
4) Do something thoughtful for them every day.
5) There are three entities- you, your partner, and your marriage. The marriage is important, your partner is important, but don’t lose sight of you.
6) Looks can fade over time. Great conversations don’t.
7) You may love them, but not like them. That won’t work. Liking them is first, that’s the day to day.
8) Shake up your routine. Get out of the house, do something different or spontaneous now and then. Don’t get stuck into some kind of “date night” routine. Makes it seem like a chore.
9)Marry someone who would push your wheelchair.
10) Consider the plus or minus 10 years rule, or close to it. (In my case, I wouldn’t marry anyone who didn’t know where they were when Kennedy was shot.
11) Don’t make everything about the kids. They grow up and they leave.
12) Marrying too young increases your chances of divorce, live some life first.
13) Make a list of everything that annoys you about your partner. Then write the following over the list…”I’m not going to be able to change this.”
14) Make another list of what you love about your partner. Tuck that away, and check it now and then.
15)Remember the things you would do early on in the relationship, when you are trying to impress them or be on your good behavior?…..Keep doing that.
16) Don’t hold everything in and have a huge blow up. Get things discussed before it gets there.
17) This is from my son….put your phone down once in a while.
18) This is from my friend Kit….”It’s not your job to fix broken people”.
19) This is from the Dowager Countess, “Marriage is a long business”. Take your time and choose with that in mind.
2o) Finally, a quote from Fawn Weaver, “ “Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.”